In their first direct talks since a November summit, U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese leader Xi Jinping highlighted a stabilizing relationship, but there were hints that the two superpowers remained at odds on a number of issues, including advanced semiconductors and the South China Sea.

The nearly two-hour telephone call Tuesday also saw the leaders of the world's two largest economies discuss a range of other issues, from TikTok to Taiwan, while also announcing that U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen would soon visit both the southern city of Guangzhou and Beijing, with U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken slated to travel to China in the coming weeks.

But U.S. officials were clear that “managing competition responsibly” was the focus of the call — not resolving deep-seated issues between the two sides.